Kabul : The Torkham border, a crucial crossing between Pakistan and Afghanistan, has been shut for Afghan nationals lacking passports and visas, as the Pakistani government intensifies efforts to repatriate Afghan migrants, Khaama Press reported on Sunday.
The information and culture department in Afghanistan's Nangarhar province issued a statement confirming the closure of the Torkham border for patients lacking proper documentation, including visas and passports.
Previously, patients without passports and visas were permitted to enter Pakistan through the Torkham crossing, subject to approval from the Ministry of Public Health in Afghanistan.
This decision is particularly significant given the annual influx of thousands of Afghans, particularly those with severe medical conditions like cancer, seeking treatment in neighbouring countries, with Pakistan being a common destination, according to Khaama Press.
Pakistan's recent move to tighten border controls and repatriate Afghan migrants coincides with the United Nations Human Rights Office's earlier call on Pakistan to cease the expulsion process, citing the potential for a "human rights catastrophe."
The expulsion of Afghan migrants is unfolding amid a harsh winter, exacerbating the already critical humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan. Forced to leave, Afghan migrants are grappling with challenging conditions, especially considering the severe winter weather, which further compounds the dire humanitarian situation in the country.
In response to these developments, Pakistan's Supreme Court has initiated a review of a petition filed by human rights activists on Friday.
The petition urges the cessation of the expulsion of Afghan refugees from Pakistan, highlighting the ongoing legal and human rights dimensions of the situation, Khaama Press reported.